Northern Ireland churches attacked over four hundred times in three years
Places of worship in Northern Ireland have been targeted by anti-Christian vandalism on a regular basic in the last year. The figures show that attacks have happened in every one of Northern Ireland's eleven policing districts.
Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) NI reported 445 recorded cases of criminal damage. The charity’s figures came from a Freedom of Information request (FOI) to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
A letter has been sent to political leaders asking for a commitment to set up a fund in Northern Ireland, similar to a scheme in England and Wales.
Created in July 2016, the places of worship (POW) protective security funding scheme provides financial resources to religious organisations, helping them buy security measures such as CCTV, fencing and lighting.
Dr Alistair McCracken, clerk of session at Saintfield Road Presbyterian Church, said he would support any government measures to protect churches. He said two arson attacks on the church in July 2016 had brought anger and frustration.
“There then came a sort of grieving period as we grappled with the practicalities of how to manage the restoration of the buildings. As a congregation, we would welcome any initiatives by government to protect churches from further attacks,” he explained.